We look forward to welcoming guest scholar Dr. Elsie Stern for a weekend of dynamic study. All are welcome!
Qabbalat Shabbat, Friday, Nov. 10, 6 p.m., onsite and online:
All are welcome to join this service full of prayer, meditation, and music! During our Shabbat together, Dr. Stern’s lecture will focus on the question, “If Torah has a plain sense, why do we need commentaries?” Since the Middle Ages, Torah commentators have engaged with the idea of peshat (plain sense) of Torah. However, there have always been different perspectives on what constitutes the “plain sense” and what kinds of information readers need to understand it. In this lecture, Dr. Stern will discuss different historical approaches to the idea of peshat and share answers to the question: “What is peshat?”
Saturday, Nov. 11, 9 a.m.: Torah study and learning session with Dr. Elsie Stern (onsite and online)
Following the Torah service, Dr. Elsie Stern will lead our community in an interactive teaching entitled, “Why does Torah say Elohim: Plain sense and ‘relevance’ in Medieval Torah commentary?” When contemporary Jews study Torah, we often move back and forth between exploration of the plain sense of the text and reflection on its relevance to our contemporary questions and concerns. This approach has its roots in Medieval Torah commentaries which engaged (often implicitly) in these two kinds of inquiry.
Saturday, Nov. 11, 3 p.m.: Study session and Havdalah with Dr. Elsie Stern (onsite)
Our closing study session with Dr. Elsie Stern is titled, “Torah and you!” In this conversation, participants will share their own experiences with Torah. When/where/how and why do you engage with Torah? What are the best parts of these experiences? What would help your Torah engagement be more meaningful, interesting, transformative and juicy? This conversation (along with other information that Dr. Stern and the commentary team are gathering) will help inform the structure and content of the new CCAR commentary. All are invited to dig in and learn something new with us.
After our learning together, we will end with Havdalah led by Temple Israel clergy.
About Dr. Elsie Stern:
Dr. Elsie Stern is professor of Bible at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and also serves as the general editor for a new Torah commentary, which is being produced by the Central Conference of American Rabbis. Throughout her career, Dr. Stern’s teaching and research has explored how ancient and contemporary Jews have experienced and interacted with torah and other biblical texts in synagogue and communal contexts. She is the author of “From Rebuke to Consolation: Exegesis and Theology in the Liturgical Anthology of the Ninth of Av Season” and is a co-editor for “The Dictionary of the Bible in Ancient and Modern Media.” She has contributed to numerous Bible commentaries and edited volumes, including “The Jewish Study Bible” and “The Torah: A Women’s Commentary.” As part of her work on the CCAR Torah commentary, Dr. Stern is currently exploring how weekly Torah portions are explored and interpreted in divrei Torah and Torah study contexts.
Saturday, November 11, 2023, 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Saturday, November 11, 2023, 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
477 Longwood Ave
Boston, MA 02215
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